Supporting Someone With IBD: A Guide For Friends and Family

Crohn's and Colitis don't just affect the person living with the condition. They can also have a huge impact on friends and family too. We're here to support you if you know someone living with the condition.

Finding out that someone you care about has Crohn’s or Colitis is a shock. You might be feeling anxious about what comes next and how their life will be affected. Things will change – but the support of friends and family can make a huge difference in helping them live well with their condition. This information sheet discusses the challenges faced by people with Crohn’s and Colitis, and the valuable things you can do to help them. It also looks at ways you can make sure you’re looking after yourself.

Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Microscopic Colitis are all types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD. The main symptoms can include severe cramping pains in the abdomen, diarrhoea which for some people can be mixed with blood and mucus, fatigue, and weight loss. Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms, and they’re more severe in some people than others.

Crohn's and Colitis can also affect parts of the body outside the digestive system, causing mouth ulcers, joint pain, and problems with the eyes, skin, bones and liver.

Treatment for IBD varies from person to person, and may include tablets, injections, intravenous infusions, enemas, specially formulated nutrition, or surgery.

If you don’t have Crohn’s or Colitis, it can be difficult to understand what it’s like. You could ask the person affected to try to explain, but remember it isn’t always easy to talk about bowel problems.

It’s easy to think ‘is it my fault in some way? Could I have done something to prevent this from happening?’ The truth is that no you couldn’t and no it’s not your fault.

Lee, father of Sam, age 12
Living with Crohn's
  1. There is no known cure. Treatment can often provide long periods of relief   from symptoms, but there’s always the risk of symptoms flaring up again. Visit crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/research to see how we’re working to develop better treatments and eventually find a cure.
     
  2.  Everyone is different. You may know someone whose symptoms rarely   trouble them, but others may require lifelong medication and possibly surgery. The way each person is affected can also change over time.
     
  3. It's not the same as IBS. While Irritable Bowel Syndrome causes some similar symptoms that can be difficult to deal with, it can usually be managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medicines. There is no bowel inflammation or blood loss with IBS, and it’s generally less serious than IBD.
     
  4. It's an invisible illness. A person may seem perfectly fine on the outside even if they’re suffering from painful and distressing symptoms.
     
  5. It's fluctuating and unpredictable. You may be confused when you see your friend or relative out and about when just last night they cancelled plans with you, but symptoms can change significantly from one moment to the next.
     
  6. It's not contagious. You can’t catch Crohn’s or Colitis by spending time with someone who has it.

The more you know about Crohn's and Colitis, the more you'll be able to support someone living with the condition.

There’s  a lot of misleading information online, so it’s best to focus your search on reliable sources such as the Crohn’s &Colitis UK or NHS websites. Our booklet All About Crohn's and Colitis is a good starting point to find out some basic facts about the disease. We also have publications on a wide range of topics, from food and medicines to coping with symptoms and everyday life.

Before you start looking into Crohn’s and Colitis, it is important to be sure how much your friend or relative wants you to know about their condition. Some people may feel their privacy is being invaded if their friends know detailed information about the symptoms they’re experiencing, or that their parents are trying to take control from them by doing all the research on possible medications. Some people want to avoid knowing too much about their condition altogether, and so telling them facts about it may be unwelcome. Discussing this beforehand, or reading about the condition together, can help avoid misunderstandings. Our mobile-friendly website companion.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk could be a useful tool to look at together to find information.
 

Knowing that my best friend had this illness that I never heard of was heart-breaking. But four years later he’s still my best friend, and I’m not giving up on him

Emily, friends with Reece, age 24
Living with IBD

It’s natural to feel anxious and helpless when you see someone you care about suffering. It can be hard knowing that you can’t take their condition away. The good news is that you can play a huge role in helping them live well with it. Crohn’s and Colitis are largely hidden diseases that can cause stigma, fear and isolation, so just letting your friend or relative know that you are there for them can be a great comfort. Some suggestions for simple things you can do to support them emotionally are outlined below.

  1. Be there to listen. Sometimes they would prefer to just carry on as normal and not talk about their illness, but other times they may appreciate someone to open up to. They’re likely to experience other people dismissing what they’re going through, for example comparing it to IBS or suggesting it can be cured with changing their diet. It’s important that they know you believe them when they talk about what their symptoms are like, and reassure them that they are not a burden to you. Instead of simply feeling sorry for them, it’s good to take time to truly empathise and understand what they’re going through.
     
  2. Help them see the funny side. At times, having a sense of humour about the situation can make them feel better, and help them realise that they don’t need to be embarrassed about their symptoms in front of you.
     
  3. Put yourself in their shoes. Tasks that you may not have to think twice about   come with extra difficulties for someone with Crohn's or Colitis, and they may have fears that seem unusual to you at first. For example they may seem overly anxious about taking a long journey, or are being fussy about when and where they’re going to eat. Try to understand that quick access to toilets can be crucial, and strict control of their diet may be a key way they manage their symptoms. Reserve judgment if you think their reluctance to do heavy housework or to work long shifts is a sign of laziness - it’s likely to be more than they can physically manage in a day. It helps to be flexible and accommodating in your plans and to consider their needs.
     
  4. Help boost their confidence if they start to look different. Surgery scars or fluctuating weight can have a negative effect on body image, so they may appreciate reassurance that you don’t see them differently. Some people with Crohn's or Colitis may also have a feeding tube going through their nose to provide them with nutrients when they’re not able to eat. They may feel  self-conscious about this, especially when it means they can’t join in at meal timesOthers may need surgery to have part of their intestines removed, which means they no longer have bowel movements out of their back passage. Instead, their intestine is brought out through the wall of their abdomen, to which a stoma bag is attached. The bag sits on their abdomen to collect digestive waste. If you’re supporting someone with a stoma, you may find it helpful to read our information on Living With a Stoma to find out more about how they work.
     
  5. Be understanding when they can't make it to an event or cancel plans at the last minute. Crohn’s and Colitis can be very unpredictable which can make planning things in advance more challenging. Your friend or loved one likely feels disappointed about letting you down, so it’s important to understand that it’s out of their control and reassure them that it’s no trouble to make adjustments. It’s also possible that their Crohn's or Colitis has caused a strain on their finances – they may not be able to work full-time or in stressful roles while they’re unwell, or they may struggle with prescription costs and transport  to hospital. This can mean some tough decisions about what they can realistically afford to say yes to. If possible, find a way to work around their situation to involve them, for example by going to see them at home if they’re unable to attend an evening out.
     
  6. Keep them in the loop when they’ve missed something. If they’re regularly  missing out on work, school or social events because of ill health, they can feel isolated, which can have a negative effect on their mental health. Keeping them updated on what’s been going on will help them feel that they’re still part of the group. It also helps them to feel like themselves, and not like they’re defined by their condition. While it’s important to be mindful of not making them feel left out, it can be nice for them to know you haven’t forgotten about them.
     
  7. Don't judge their food choices. It’s understandable to think that gut issues may have been caused by poor diet. However, there’s no conclusive evidence that any particular food or additive can cause or cure Crohn’s or Colitis. Sometimes ‘unhealthy’ foods are actually the best option for people with IBD when they’re unwell, due to their high energy and low fibre content. The relationship with food and IBD is different for everyone, and foods that may help one person with Crohn’s or Colitis may do nothing or even worsen symptoms in another. Find out more in our Food booklet. 

    Multiple medications and diet restrictions can cause problems with family and friends who don’t understand I have to take a tablet at a set time or eat something now. Many times I’ve found myself in a challenging situation because the people I’m with don’t want to eat yet! I carry snacks and water wherever I go.

    Julia, age 52
    Living with Crohn's

     

  8.  Join in with raising awareness. Following Crohn’s & Colitis UK on social media, raising money at a school bake sale or campaigning to make us the Charity of the Year in your workplace are all great ways to show your friend or relative that you’re not embarrassed by their condition, and you’re passionate  about helping them. Be sure to check if the person with IBD is comfortable with others knowing about their condition if you plan to mention their name.

    Assisting them in finding a community of people who know what they’re going through can also be beneficial in helping them cope and thrive. People with IBD who participate in Crohn’s & Colitis UK Local Network programs, or events offered by their hospital, often say their involvement helps them feel that they aren’t alone. You might consider getting together with a group of friends to participate in one of our WALK IT events, held around the UK every year. And remember to ensure that anything you suggest or do is tailored to what the person with IBD is comfortable with.

    Visit crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/get-involved to see how you can join the fight against Crohn's and Colitis.

I find it hard that I can’t really do anything to help. I can’t cure it and when she’s ill I can’t make her feel better. You feel pretty useless. It’s important to allow yourself moments of anger and sadness, because if you don’t you’ll just end up bottling it up and it will become too big.

Timm, husband of Sam, age 37
Living with Ulcerative Colitis

As well as emotional support, you may be able to lend a hand to lessen the daily challenges that come with living with IBD. Striking a balance between providing help and allowing your friend or loved one to control their own life can be tricky. As with anyone, it’s important for people with Crohn’s and Colitis to maintain as much of their independence as possible. Everyone is different, and some people appreciate more support than others, so it’s important to communicate with your friend or family member to determine what they need. This will vary from person to person, and may involve things like helping with housework, shopping, or arranging childcare.

Here are some other ideas on how you may be able to lend  a hand with key challenges:

Fatigue
Many people with Crohn’s or Colitis experience fatigue. Fatigue is an overwhelming sense of continuing tiredness, lack of energy, or feeling of exhaustion that doesn’t improve even after rest or sleep. Fatigue can affect concentration and make it hard to remember things. If they are able, engaging in some light exercise with your friend or loved one could help fight the tiredness, and if you can join in and exercise together, it will make it more fun and less of a chore. However, remember that sometimes even light activity can be impossible. Establishing a regular sleep pattern is important for people experiencing fatigue, so try not to make regular plans with them that you know interfere with their usual bedtimes.
 
You can help by sharing your class or work notes with your friend when they find it difficult to focus. You can plan more relaxing ways to spend time together when your usual activities may be too much of a strain. Offering a lift so they don’t have to focus on driving or contend with public transport can also be an enormous help. More information about causes of fatigue and ways to reduce it is available in our information on Fatigue.

Pain
Crohn’s and Colitis can cause severe abdominal, joint and back pain. But a study funded by Crohn’s & Colitis UK found that people who had lower stress levels and more social support were able to cope better with their pain.

Find out about and offer support with what helps them, such as a hot water bottle, yoga, avoiding certain foods or taking the right pain medication. Some studies have also shown that slow deep breathing and mindfulness exercises such as meditation can be effective in reducing pain.There are a number of apps and online tools available to guide you as well as in-person courses. It can help to engage in these activities together to make it into a fun routine.
 
It can be beneficial to help them keep a record of their pain and other bowel symptoms so they can notice patterns and potential triggers. Pain can be difficult to describe to healthcare professionals, so it may be useful to help your friend or relative identify the right words, such as aching, cramping, stabbing, burning, shooting, tender or throbbing. The information can be useful for the person to tell their nurse or doctor, to help work out the best approach to lessening the pain or improving other symptoms. You might also encourage them to keep a food diary if they want to try adding or eliminating certain foods to see whether that helps their symptoms. They’ll need to make sure their nutritional needs are still being met if they eliminate foods, and it’s often a good idea to talk to a doctor or nurse – or a nutritionist or dietitian – about this.
 
Never offer someone with IBD non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, diclofenac or high-dose aspirin for their pain, as these drugs could make their symptoms worse. More information about pain relief can be found in our information sheet Other Treatments for IBD.

Seeing someone you care about in pain can be distressing, especially when it feels like there’s nothing you can do. Often, simply validating their pain and helping them find ways to cope with it can go a long way. Don’t underestimate the impact that fostering good mental health as well as a positive and stress-free environment can have.

Medication
The thought of having to take medication indefinitely can be overwhelming for some people with IBD. Some prefer their family to do the research into the drug they’re taking and understand the side effects, because this information can be scary and difficult to process. See our individual treatment information sheets for more information on the medicines your loved one is taking. Discuss whether they’d also benefit from having someone pick up their prescriptions, remind them to take their medication, and encourage them to keep taking medications that their doctor wants them to use even when they feel well.
 
Some medications for Crohn's and Colitis require the patient to inject themselves at home. This can be frightening at first, and having someone with them can put them at ease. You may be able to get training from a specialist nurse to assist your loved one or do their injections for them.

It helped us greatly when the Gastroenterologist encouraged my son to take his meds by regarding them as supplements (a lot of people take supplements, vitamins everyday).  This changed both our attitudes towards the “supplements” he needed to take and he’s taken them every day since!

Angela, mother of Keenan, age 19
Living with Crohn's Disease



Access to toilets 
There may be times when the person with IBD needs to use toilet facilities urgently. Keep this in mind when planning trips or events, and do your best to be patient if you end up waiting for them for a while, or if they suddenly have to rush off to the toilet. Some people can also struggle with continence, and our information sheet Managing Bowel Incontinence includes tips on helping them prepare for accidents.
 
You could also encourage them to become a member of Crohn’s & Colitis UK. By doing this they will receive a ‘Can’t Wait’ Card, which explains that they need to use toilet facilities urgently. They’ll also receive a free Radar Key to unlock disabled toilets. People with Crohn’s or Colitis sometimes are confronted about using accessible toilets by people who don’t understand the nature of invisible illnesses, so they may appreciate having someone to support them in these situations. Join our Not Every Disability is Visible campaign to help end the stigma. 

Appointments and procedures
When you have Crohn’s or Colitis you see your doctors and nurses more often than average. Managing these new appointments and fitting them into everyday life can be a learning curve.

You could help by supporting your loved one to write down lists of things they may want to discuss at the appointment, to make sure they don’t forget anything. You could also attend appointments with them for moral support and to help them absorb the information. Even just keeping them company in the waiting room may help them feel reassured.

Our list of Medical Terms is useful to help understand all the new terminology if you’re involved in supporting your loved one with their medical care.

There may be times when a person with IBD will undergo medical tests and procedures that require sedation. As this can make them groggy, hospitals state that they must be accompanied home by someone they know and trust. Offering a lift in these instances, and keeping them company until they feel better again, can be helpful.

Your loved one may also need to undergo surgery, after which they may be very weak and unable to do any lifting or driving for a while. Assisting with household tasks like cooking and cleaning could be a great help in allowing them to focus on recovery. Our information sheets Surgery for Crohn’s Disease and Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis include detailed information about what to expect before and after surgery.

Sometimes Sam would be so tired that she would forget things that the consultant had said, so I started going with her to appointments. It’s just another pair of ears to listen and another voice to say the things that she might forget or not think about.

Timm, husband of Sam, age 37
Living with Ulcerative Colitis

Explaining to others
You may be able to help your friend or loved one by advocating for them with others. For example, if another person questions why they often cancel engagements or are picky about food or seem lazy, you may find a way to strongly but gently stand up for them. Helping others to understand the seriousness of your friend’s condition can be helpful, as long as it’s something your friend is comfortable with. You could offer to be a sounding board for what your friend plans to say when they want to have these conversations themselves, helping them find the best way to explain what they need to get across.

Receiving Support
There are a number of ways your friend or family member can receive external support that they may not be aware of. Our information sheets Employment and IBD: A Guide for Employees and Children and Young People with IBD: A Guide for Schools have information about the support people are entitled to, and adjustments that can make coping with work or school easier.
 
If their IBD is causing a strain on their financial situation, it might help to  look at our guides on Claiming DLA - Children Under 16 and Claiming Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for information on how to receive these benefits. If they live in England, you could also help them buy an NHS prescription prepayment certificate to help with prescription costs: visit  gov.uk/get-a-ppc for information on how to apply. 
 
Our information on Finances has more information about the other types of assistance available.
 
You should check in regularly with your friend or loved one to make sure they’re comfortable with the level of support you’re providing. Things may change as they become used to dealing with their condition, or as the state of their health fluctuates. It’s also important that you’re always happy with the amount you’re helping out, and you’re not doing more than you’re able or comfortable with.
 

Caring for someone who has a long-term condition can sometimes put a strain on friends and family, and it can be difficult feeling that your life with your loved one has changed. They might seem more irritable if they’re in a lot of pain, or be too tired to do the things they used to do. It’s important to remember that they’re still the same person they’ve always been, just in a different situation. Periods of ill-health, which are known as flares or flare-ups, don’t last forever - people with Crohn’s or Colitis are likely to find relief from symptoms through drugs or surgery, and will be able to live life to the full again. It can help to try to see their IBD as something separate from you both – an external challenge to tackle together.

You might feel that your relationship with the person with IBD is becoming unbalanced, and the only time you spend together is when you’re looking after them. It’s important to make time to do something you both enjoy together when things are getting overwhelming – they’ll appreciate the chance to feel like themselves again and not just like a ‘patient’. This includes not feeling like they’re being protected from difficult situations just because they’re unwell.

When your family member is having a flare-up, you may have to take on more responsibilities. This can be a lot to deal with, especially if you’re a young person and this is the first time you’ve had to look after someone. Try to work together with other people in your family or social circle to share tasks so that you’re not overwhelmed.

If you’re the parent of someone with Crohn's or Colitis, you may find it difficult to deal with any mood changes your child may experience. Crohn’s and Colitis can be a lot to deal with on top of all the other challenges young people face, so try to be as understanding as possible if they seem irritable or stressed out. We have a series of short videos about how to cope with various challenges young people face, such as school, leaving home for the first time and transitioning into adult care. These are available at crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/youngperson.

If your child has had IBD from a young age and you’re used to looking after their health, you may also struggle with them growing up and wanting to do more by themselves. Our Transition: Moving To Adult Care booklet contains information about the transition process, how you can help and how you can start giving them more independence.

If there are young children in the family, it’s important to be as honest as possible with them about what’s going on. While the instinct may be to protect them from worry, if things are left unsaid they may jump to their own conclusions, for example that the disease is terminal. They may even feel jealous if it seems like their sibling with IBD now gets more attention from the rest of the family, or has an ‘excuse’ to get out of their commitments.

If you’re the partner of someone with Crohn's or Colitis, you may notice your sexual relationship changing. This could be due to your partner’s tiredness, fear of having an accident, pain, or medications that decrease sex drive. You may be scared of hurting your partner or making their symptoms worse. If you can, you should try to be as honest as possible about how you feel – it’s likely your partner has similar concerns themselves. You may be interested in our Sexual Relationships information sheet, which discusses some issues you may face in being intimate and how to tackle them together.

You may also have questions about your ability to have children together. While there are some exceptions, in most cases IBD will not affect fertility, and people with Crohn’s or Colitis can expect to have a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby. See our information sheets on Reproductive Health and IBD and Pregnancy and IBD for more details.
 

There is no conclusive evidence that stress or emotions can cause someone to develop Crohn’s or Colitis, and many people continue to have troublesome symptoms regardless of their emotional state. Try to give your loved one space to express their feelings without dismissing them when they feel down. Living with Crohn's or Colitis can be extremely draining, and there may be times when your loved one feels fed up or depressed. These feelings are perfectly natural, and telling them they need to think more positively may make them feel you don’t understand how serious the condition can be.

Some people, however, do feel that stress can trigger a flare-up or make their symptoms worse.We have some tips on managing stress in our booklet Living With Crohn's or Colitis. If feelings of anxiety and depression begin to affect everyday life to the point where your friend or loved one can’t cope, you may want to suggest they see a counsellor or try talking therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Some studies have shown that people with IBD feel more able to cope with symptoms and are more likely to continue taking their medications after receiving psychological support. Although more research is needed, some people with IBD have found that their stress levels reduced after counselling, which led to improvements in their IBD symptoms as well as their psychological well-being. More information about how counselling can help and how to find a counsellor can be found in our information sheet Counselling for IBD.

 

The psychological aspects of my Mum’s Crohn’s have been the most difficult to relate to – you just see her as your Mum when you’re young, not a whole person with her own issues!

Open and honest conversations are really the only way to get through it, and to remember that your support is appreciated, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.

Nicky, daughter of Anne, age 36
Living with Crohn's Disease

It’s understandable to feel discouraged and powerless when you feel a friend or loved one isn’t taking their health seriously. For example you may see them skipping doses of their medicine, ignoring worrying symptoms, or eating foods that are sure to aggravate their condition. While this can be frustrating, it’s important to accept that they need to make their own choices, and there are limits to what you can do to support someone else.

Do your best to be patient. You can’t force someone to open up, but you can ensure they know that you’re there for them when they feel ready. You may be tempted to suggest they try certain remedies, for example a herbal supplement you’ve read about. Be careful how you phrase these suggestions, as people with IBD are used to being told by well-meaning but ill-informed people that their illness can be ‘cured’ with a natural approach. You could say something like “I’ve heard good things about […], but I don’t want to suggest this if it’s not the sort of thing you’re interested in.” Try not to take it personally if your suggestions are rejected, and accept that ultimately they are responsible for their own health. Controlling their treatment could be the primary way they feel able to take ownership of their condition.

Sometimes you might feel that you can tell when your loved one is becoming unwell before they do. For example they may not realise they’ve been more tired than usual when they get home. You could try making a list of warning signs together while they are well, which can make things easier to talk about when you notice things changing. You may need to decide together how they want you to help if they have a flare-up. Remember that you don’t want to be overbearing, and that you don’t want to treat your friend or loved one as a ‘patient.’

It was devastating to watch my 15 year old son suffer and him not really wanting to deal with it.  I felt helpless as all I could do was do the ‘admin’ of appointments/prescriptions etc. Thankfully as he’s matured he has accepted his diagnosis, regularly takes his meds and keeps himself well.

Angela, mother of Keenan, age 19
Living with Crohn's Disease

Supporting someone with IBD can be a rewarding experience that brings you closer together. However, it can also come with challenges. In order to make sure you have the energy to help someone else while looking out for your own wellbeing, try the following tips to make the situation easier.

Create an understanding about what you can realistically do. Your help is extremely valuable, but ultimately it’s up to your friend or family member to seek support for themselves. Setting boundaries may be difficult for both of you, but they are necessary to ensure that you both understand your roles. You can reassure them that you’ll be there for them in other ways too.

Be honest about your feelings. Often friends and family try to protect each other by hiding when they’re struggling, or not speaking up when they have concerns. Being honest about your feelings may make it easier for your loved one to open up about theirs.

Don't burn yourself out. Be sure to take breaks if you’re feeling overwhelmed.  You may feel guilty about taking time for yourself, but remember that you’ll be able to support the person you’re caring for much better if you continue to look  after your own interests and feel refreshed.

Confide in someone. Looking after someone with Crohn’s or Colitis can have a big impact on your life as well as theirs, and it’s important you feel supported. If you feel your friends don’t understand what you’re going through, try connecting with others in the same situation by joining the Crohn’s & Colitis UK closed Facebook forum or attending one of our Local Network events. Remember that IBD Nurses can also be a considerable source of emotional support for family members as well as patients. You might even want to consider counselling for yourself if you feel overwhelmed.

Don't do it alone. Share your caring responsibilities with others if you can.
 

Pace yourself and be realistic about the support you can offer. This can be a long-term commitment, so ensure you take plenty of time for yourself as well

Nicky, daughter of Anne, age 63
Living with Crohn's Disease

When someone you care about is sick despite your best efforts, it can feel demoralising. Try to remember that it isn’t your fault – Crohn’s and Colitis can’t be cured and can be difficult to control, so their health is no reflection on your efforts. You’re also probably doing a lot more than you realise - small things can have a big impact, and just being there for them is probably helping a lot. Research has suggested that people with IBD who are lonely and stressed have worse health-related quality of life, so just keeping them company and helping them relax can be a great help. By supporting them to overcome their anxieties and develop coping strategies to deal with symptoms, you’ll be making a real difference in their life.

Talk, not just together but with your family and friends and other people who live with it. Openness is super important. I think because we have not been embarrassed by it, our children are not embarrassed by it, so they don’t hide it away. They say to kids at school ‘that’s my mum, she’s ace’.

Timm, husband of Sam, age 37
Living with Ulcerative Colitis

We offer more than 50 publications on many aspects of Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. You may be interested in our comprehensive booklets on each disease, as well as the following publications:

Living With Crohn's or Colitis
Fatigue
Taking Medicines
Managing Bowel Incontinence
Living With a Stoma

Health professionals can order some publications in bulk by using our online ordering system. If you would like a printed copy of a booklet or information sheet, please contact our helpline.

Our helpline is a confidential service providing information and support to anyone affected by Crohn's or Colitis. Our team can:
• help you understand more about Crohn's or Colitis, diagnosis and treatment options
• provide information to help you to live well with your condition
• help you understand and access disability benefits
• be there to listen if you need someone to talk to
• put you in touch with a trained support volunteer who has a personal experience of Crohn's or Colitis

Call us on 0300 222 5700 
Email helpline@crohnsandcolitis.org.uk
Use our LiveChat 

Crohn’s & Colitis UK Forum
This closed-group community on Facebook is for everyone affected by Crohn's or Colitis. You can share your experiences and receive support from others.

Crohn’s & Colitis UK Patient Panels
IBD Patient Panels, which are supported by Crohn’s & Colitis UK, are groups of people with Crohn's or Colitis who use their perspective as a patient to work with their IBD healthcare team to help improve their hospital services. For more information on patient panels, please read our information leaflet or contact our Patient Engagement Team.

Crohn’s & Colitis UK Local Networks
Our Local Networks of volunteers across the UK organise events and provide opportunities to get to know other people in an informal setting, as well as to get involved with educational, awareness-raising and fundraising activities. You may find just being with other people and realising that you are not alone can be reassuring. Families and relatives may also find it useful to meet other people with Crohn's or Colitis. All events are open to members of Crohn’s & Colitis UK

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Last reviewed: March 2018